tv Today in Washington CSPAN January 25, 2013 6:00am-9:00am EST
>> the committee will come back to order. i want to thank our witnesses for being here today, and i think we will move into the questions and answer period. i'm going to reserve my question time and i will go to mr. brady. you all recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and a thank you for all of those who are here. your testimony is very helpful. one, clearly america will pay its debt.
that is made clear by republicans and democrats in congress. we always have, and i hope that those who choose to be melodramatic about it can say to gain political advantage, if you would please stop, that would be helpful. secondly, there is absolutely no chance the president's request to have a permanent, unlimited debt ceiling will kerr. this is constitutional -- will poker. as we have seen in the past it's also been a helpful tool not only on checks and balances but to enact spending reforms and restraints that can be helpful, although in my view have not been helpful as they have in the past. a third point is that the claim we heard earlier today that a short-term extension of the debt limit may raise the u.s. government debt service costs. that is highly speculative.
but rooney 11 gao study showed significant results. three out of every five had no impact. the 2012 report was based on only one event. statistically inconclusive. the bipartisan estimate are based upon both of these gao studies, and they missed the point. the fact of the matter is unsustainable spending over time without doubt will raise cost of our borrowing in america. that's why we are all here today to deal with this issue, or attempt to give our best insight. i'd like to ask dr. foster a question with related to the debt ceiling. many of us see the other side of that coin as a credit downgrade, the second one, which has serious consequences, not just for our borrowing but for borrowing of small businesses and consumers at home.
my question to you, and i know there's different opinions, but what do you think congress has to do? what steps should we take to create not just medium term fiscal consolidation addressing that issue but long-term dealing with our long-term drivers of debt and spending? what do we need to do to avoid a second downgrade? >> well -- >> downgrade by second -- >> to avoid another downgrade, which on our current path is almost assured, really need to do two things and they are pointed out in the letter expressed in the first downgrade. one, don't raise any question about not raising the debt ceiling. ultimately, we have to do that. and the second as we have to get our long-term fiscal house in order. that means we have to get the entitlement programs under control, achieving two goals. one, the reform is necessary to make sure they achieve the results we're heading which is
protecting at risk populations while spending money so we can afford to spend, and no more. that are simple entitlement reforms straightforward. they have been well-vetted that this congress should adopt i believe fairly quickly. there may be legislatively complex, and these are the kind of reforms received my partisan support in the past. commonsense thing. it's frustrating in fact that we don't taken more seriously and move on them because they have profound impacts, where the problem really is. yes, we have a series problem with a trillion dollars budget deficit today but really largess that is the problem is dwarfed by our long run fiscal empowerment program. we know some of the basis reform, bipartisan reforms that can be enacted that will go a long way to getting medicare and social security, in particular under control on a more sustainable path. that's where congress should be looking as we debate fiscal policy this year beginning with
the deficit. >> do you think investors looked beyond that debt ceiling to those fundamentals you talked about, answering questions american essays about getting the financial house in order ?-que?-que x do you think that creates the most uncertainty going forward in the long-term? >> it is a tremendous source of uncertainty. there are others but that is a major source of uncertainty. credit markets will surely look at as indicated by the letter transmitting the credit rating downgrade. >> thank you, mr. chairman. yield back. >> mr. rangel is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, and welcome back, mr. chairman. i'm under the impression that the debt ceiling is to give the authority to the president to assure our progress, the each and every nickel that we would fall get it back. i also believe that we have to have some guidelines on spending in order to share with creditors and americans alike, the fact
are we going to reduce unnecessary spending. having said that, some people believe we have to have this involved debt ceiling with the deficit. and, of course, that's controversial. under the system of prioritizi prioritizing, payments that some people are pushing forward, they would believe that we can determine just to we're going to pay out interest to, we get a better handle on the spending part of the fiscal dilemma. and i just want to ask dr. johnson some questions that these programs that think you pay interest on your debt is, number one, priorty. i think every family would like to pay off interest. social security, and then third, somewhere active duty military, and i think patriotic as well as
political. but under the scenario, dr. johnson, will we be paying the people that we borrowed from in china the debt that we owe china, the biggest creditor or one of the largest before we would pay our american military that got caught like i did in korea, fighting the chinese? does this work out in terms of avoiding the payment of a debt that woul we pay off our debtors before pay off our military? is that part of this plan? >> welcome mr. rangel, no, i don't think these plans are very detailed, worked out credible plans. but yes, i have seen the notion expressed that the u.s. would pay its debt in the form of interest and principal on bonds, at substantial fraction held by the chinese government, for example. ahead of payments that would
make of other kinds, which would include presumably the way that his friend, payments to active service military personnel, for example. that seems like a very strange notion. >> it seems to me if you owe anybody any money whether it was your country or your company and you are not giving the executive director of the authority to pay what's already been barred, that shouldn't make our lenders feel comfortable, but about the question of reducing spending, is there a vehicle that congress can exercise its ability without jeopardizing the reputation of credit? i mean, we have to deal with it, but you say, and most people, i think most people believe that don't attack the debt ceiling and integrity of the united states to use the constitution vehicles you have. what can th congress do to exprs america's concerned about
spending? >> as you know far better than i did you have a wide range of tools and, in fact, you have more than 200 years of fiscal history in which congress did exactly that. congress exerted for many, many years both of the tax consistent with spending. and nobody ever put the debt ceiling or the u.s. willingness to pay its obligations on the table in the way it was placed in the summer of 2011, and the way here it is now being placed on the table again. it's a big mistake and 2011 to create this degree of uncertainty and fear in the u.s. and around the world and the big mistake to do it again today. >> why would any good thinking patriotic american want to use the debt ceiling as a vehicle to reduce spending rather than the other legislative opportunities it would have? what would the reason be? certain not to embarrass the united states of america. >> i have no idea, mr. rangel,
but i can tell you that -- >> well, if you don't have any, then maybe it is the objectives of this president at whatever cost, some leaders our so-called leaders have said, that they want to stop this president and the were unsuccessful in that measure. so maybe, maybe they decided to change tactics and maybe this discussion is a necessary and we find some of the way to a handle on the deficit. at me thank you for your contribution to this hearing as you have so many times before. mr. chairman, i yield back the balance of my time. >> mr. johnson is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. foster, in his famous farewell address president eisenhower said quote we cannot mortgage the material assets of her grandchildren without
risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. we want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow. in your testimony you say that, with respect to our fiscal future, quote a change of course is inevitable. the question is what kind of change? you one that once such a change may be brought by credit markets increasingly and tolerance of washington's fiscal imprudence. in essence you are saying if we don't do anything, it's only a matter of time that financial markets will, so to speak, blow the whistle on washington, and see the game is over. in other words, we are on borrowed time here, aren't we? >> yes, sir. i'm afraid we are. this is rather an unusual posture for americans to be a. it's not -- traditionally even though we've had a fair amount
of government debt its range in the order of 40% of our economy, which is completely manageable. this has shot up dramatically and it's going to continue to shoot up under current policies. the evidence is very clear in academic literature. it's very clear in international observation. there comes a point where your debt in terms of your economy reaches leve a level in which ct markets become noticeably disturbed and you become very worried. and if it's -- rising interest rates which then spread throughout the economy. mortgage rates and consumer rights and so forth. this is a certainty, and it is the path we are on that will have extreme consequences that we are not used to think about in this country spend i asked the question how much time do we really have. you know, with the u.s. per person debt now 35% higher at. wendy think we face our greek
moment -- when do you think we take our greek moment to get our fiscal house in order? >> right now we are having good news-bad news situation. the good news is that despite all that we have done wrong, we're still one of the safest places in the world to invest. there's a lot of places around the world that capital investment wants to be so keeps coming into this country, driving down or interest rates even after raising debt rapidly. while at some point that is going to reverse and capital will flow out again. and interest rates will rise rapidly. when that will happen i cannot say because i don't know when for example, europe is finally going to get its fiscal house of monetary houses in order. once they do this process will reverse and we'll see the consequences of what we have done. >> germany, making a move now. mr. hoagland, we you care to comment? >> i agree with dr. foster that we are probably the best looking force in the -- best looking horse in the glue factory today. that may not last. i would also say i'm very worried about as i sit in my
opening statement that we are looking at debt to gdp that's close to 77%. and while in the past we've had debt to gdp after world war ii at that level, we didn't have 50% of it owned by foreign investors and that's what scares me in terms of our sovereignty. we think we're to do with is his going forward. i agree also the real issue here is mandatory spending and putting procedures, processes and building upon our regular order of process up your of getting budget resolution adopted, agreement, reconciliation bill and working it through the regular order. and that's what i would say that this is not the perfect solution in terms of a three-month extension, they put you back closer to what would normally have been a regular order process. i think that's positive. >> i'd like both of you, if we don't get it in order, you, your small business owners, to our young families you are aspiring
college students, what kind of future are we looking for for these folks? >> i think the standard of living that we could experience and enjoy, we have to be honest with ourselves that we're less thing that standard of living for our future, for future generations, our children and grandchildren. i don't think there's any question this level of debt would lower that standard of living. >> people stop wanting to come here. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank you. mr. mcdermott come you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have to tell you, listen to this hearing, it's like we're living in alice in wonderland. here we are hearing from witnesses telling us how to use default creatively or use it to get some leverage, or something, civil talking about it here is destructive. the whole world is watching this hearing. it's the first hearing on this
issue. and the whole point of a society is to create and run a government in order to make order for people. people don't like chaos. and this hearing is about how to create chaos to get what you can't get politically with the votes. businesses and workers in my district think this kind of talk is crazy. today we're talking about a crisis manufactured by the republicans. a crisis manufactured to achieve policies that the voters wouldn't vote for at the ballot box. republicans are taking the economy hostage every single time to get a chance. they are threats are workers and businesses, investors, retirees, job growth stop every time the republicans have a crisis. the economy falters. this is a republican confidence in economic policy that is not working. the biggest problem with the republican arguments that are before us, and we just heard it again, is that spending and
debt, they are the problem but this is a misdirection. the public congress and republican presidents were happy to run up huge deficits to wage war they didn't pay for, or take tax cuts for individuals and industry, and give billions to oil companies. deficits are not what the republicans care about. what republicans want to do is end the guarantees on medicare and social security. we just heard somebody say it's that entitlement payment that is a problem but i disagree. i think this problem -- this country can social safety nets and pay for it. and that ought to be happening. what's happening on the other side of the aisle. is they want everybody was looking at doing well to just do well. if you aren't doing well, well, you've got to deal with it. it's your problem. it's social darwinism. it's survival of the fittest put into public policy in this
committee. that is the republican policy, and i respect that they want a different policy than i do, but we out to be honest about this. we just watch people say spending in the tv cameras again and again and again. spinning is just a term the polls like. republicans won't say what they want to cut because the public doesn't want their policies, but the word spending polls very well so we hear a lot of it. but we don't hear debate because the republicans want crisis but no solution. if we were serious about having a debate, we would start talking about what a medicare should be cut or how are going to change it, or how are we going to find positions, all those things should be on the table, but we don't have that. what we say is, let's just cut. and when you start talking across the board, you're talking about medical research and you're talking about nasa into
talking about noaa. you're talking about all these government agencies that don't have anything to society. what we are spending our time talking about this deficit stuff in raising the crisis, raising the deficit, we are simply saying to the world, the first time america is not going to p pay. now, my question to you, mr. johnson is if this was such a good idea, why haven't we done it before? we could have saved a lot of money by not paying our debts. why have we suddenly decided that this is the time to do it? give me some understanding so the american people can understand why, after all these years since world -- since the first world war, i voted under george bush, both of them, to raise the debt limit.
but now we're going to stop paying. please tell me why they are doing this. >> it's not a good idea and it's not the way the policy front of not just as world war i but go back to 171819 after the initial assumption of debt and the restructuring of debt, which alexander hamilton began proposing for this country. policy has been to always pay your debt and other obligations. and it took a long time to convince the world that the u.s. was the safest place to put your reserve assets or your rainy day money, and it was a great achievement to announce it is being squandered and throw it away for, i presume, some negotiating purpose makes no sense from a broader economic perspective. >> thank you. times expected i would ask unanimous consent to place in the record a statement of administration policy on h.r. 325, for the administration says the reason the administration
would not oppose a short-term solution to the debt limit and works for to work with house and senate. without objection so order. mr. tiberi come you're recognized for five minutes. >> let me expand a little bit on mr. mcdermott's line of questioning and just get a quick response from the four of you. back in 2006, keeping on the senate floor, then senator obama announced he intended to vote no on the debt ceiling increase. he went on to say, i quote, to oppose the africa i post the other to increase america's debt limit. we now depend on outgoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our governments reckless fiscal policies over the past five years, our federal debt has increased by three and a half trillion dollars, to $8.6 trillion. would love to have those numbers today. since then we now have a
$16.4 trillion debt, nearly doubled in six years. in fact, since this president has become president, 2009, he has added more than, more than four times, more than 4 trillion, more debt in four years, excuse me, than the previous president did in eight. so to the forget, quick question. was the president right? is this a failure of leadership? is there a better direction? >> i certainly think he was right that we ought and to continue to run the store based on borrowing. there's a lot of ways you can pay your debts. and they don't all conclude -- >> but since he made that speech it's gotten worse. he's done nothing to change the trajectory. it's gotten worse. so was the president right?
is it a leadership that are? >> i would agree with that, it is. >> congressman, i'm would say that he was right to say what he said. i would be careful to point out that some of that increase in net debt that took place was a result of obligation that was occurred long before he was ever president of the united states or -- >> all right. >> and i would just make very clear, also i'm simply say the house passed budget resolution last year under congressman ryan which was going in the right direction of controlling spending, still had a debt for the end of this year at $1,711,000,000,000,000. spent it is getting worse. >> thank you. there's a question that allowing debt to continue to build more rapidly so a debt as a share of gdp is -- on some circumstances it is inevitable. the circumstances are not what
we have today. we should be getting it under control and doing so quickly. >> mr. johnson? >> congressman, figures two and three in my written test will address this issue directly. these are the congressional budget office numbers. this is the number two and you can see the impact tax cuts, to foreign wars, medicare part d which was not paid in 2008, bush tax cuts and then, of course, the financial crisis, if you moved to figure through this shows you the swing in medium-term debt projected by the cbo before and after they realize the severity of the financial crisis. 50% of gdp increased -- >> let me ask you a question. was the president right? yes or no? >> the president was right when he spoke, what did he realize was how bad it would get as result of reckless financial policy. >> so the president is right to date enforcing as well, even though the debt has nearly doubled, and when the deficit
actually that was on the decline with what you talked about, to wars, tax cuts, it was less than $200 billion a year that rob portman, now senator, was budget director and since i've gone over a trillion dollars for your said roque's. we had the largest financial crisis since the great depression, huge amount of revenue -- >> we're not going to -- i have another question for mr. hoagland. mr. hoagland, i notice you have some experience on budget issues in the senate to how many years did you work in the senate, and when you worked in the senate, on budget issues, if they passed budgets when you with there? how many times? or did they fail to pass a budget one year, two years, or maybe three years? >> i was with the senate budget, with the budget committee since 1982. and left the senate after majority leader's office in
2007. over the 33 years that we have budget resolutions, beginning in 1979, seven times we failed to get a conference agreement on the budget resolution. unfortunately, over the 33 years, three of those times have been in the last three years. there was one time, and i was staff director of the senate budget committee with chairman domenici, that we did not get the concurrent resolution on the budget and that had to deal with 1998 when john casey was chairman of the house budget committee of which is finished -- one time spent time has expired. thank you. mr. doggett. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i know things are very different about where we're headed in the future but i think mr. johnson's chart demonstrates when we concluded the clinton administration we had a surplus. for the first time in recent
memory. and a huge tax cut where alan greenspan sat where you're sitting, mr. johnson, and told us that the justification for this tax was that we are reducing the debt too fast, that we would create some uncertainties in the bond market because we are moving so quickly, but an unpaid tax cut, unpaid prescription benefits, few unpaid wars, now we are told we can no longer afford by some of our republican colleagues to provide health security for people at 65 or 66, that, you would like to get but we just can't afford to do it. and as it relates specifically to the proposal we just heard, the administration statement on, i gather your opinion, mr. johnson is better than have a valentine's day clip do is have some additional time to help resolve this, but if we keep moving in three months or one month or six months spurt, the affect on economic growth
will be very damaging? >> absolutely, congressman. iif you can pull up 51 for my written testimony, what you'll get is a spike from august 2011, you can have it every three months. that was a disastrous month because who wants to hire when you don't know if there will be payments made by the government or if other instructions will take place. these are big numbers. you're going to do this every three months, for how long? until you have another election? that's far too long for the health and sanity of the american people. >> at the same time we had that phenomenon, i believe the general accountability office has estimated that the direct cost of republicans taking this right up to the brink on the debt, full faith and credit of the next it's last time was over a billion dollars in increased interest costs. we could also expect to see
increase in borrowing costs for taxpayers if we don't get this debt ceiling resolve. >> that is a definite possibility, congressman. the extent we disrupt markets, we worry investors, we create risk. we are not hurting just the federal government, the state governments and local governments that, of course, do not generally borrow at low interest rates the federal government borrows at so than the risk premium in there who are driving up risk premium around the world when you generate this kind of risk. >> yoga and testimony indicates that for a decade, actually for a couple o decades, we have seen income inequality increased dramatically with little change in income 490% of wage earners, and 50% increase for those at the top. water the policies that you think we most need to address, other than getting stability on this full faith and credit of the united states to change that and to ensure that there is a more equitable share in the
success of the american economy? >> the evidence is completely compelling. education, human capital, the ability to work with information technology. these are huge determinants. many people in american society today cannot afford by themselves to get the kind of education. to make resources available, support younger people, support families, institute, human capital, that is good for them, that's good for the economy and that's good for the tax base. over the medium term it will strengthen the projects. >> in terms of competitiveness, worldwide, building a stronger workforce from, as you mentioned, early childhood education to access to a college education is really vital to american competitiveness, isn't it? >> it's the number one determined that both our competitiveness, and our productivity, how much do we produce. number one determined, looking
forward, human capital, education, that ability to innovate, ability to work with new technologists. >> over the short run, what is the effect of a cross the board cuts on early childhood education, on pell grants, on research funding for medical research and other basic scientific research? .. >> thank you, mr. chairman. my first question is to all the panelists. thank you for being here.
there's a lot of talk across the aisle about raising revenue to solve our debt problem. is it possible to raise taxes enough to permanently sustain programs such as social security and medicare without reforming the programs themselves, and what sort of tax increase would this be on the middle class, and what would this sort of tax increase do to our broader economy? >> i would ask the committee if i may pass on that since it goes beyond my legal expertise. i will defer to the economists. >> i believe that it will require a balance between both spending, controlling entitlement spending, mandatory spending and revenue increases to lower the debt to gdp figure to a goal of about 60%. i believe the last proposal that was on the table before the fiscal cliff discussion was that
the house republican leader's proposal was $800 billion in tax increases. the president's was 960. you did 600. there's 200 there you're still looking at for this next ten-year window, but i think that has to be coupled with changes to mandatory spending programs. there are specific proposals as it relates to changing the medicare program that does not harm current recipients of medicare but protects the program for the future beneficiaries out there. >> there is an illusion that you can solve all these problems with tax increases without getting into the question of whether or not you should, that you could. the answer is you can't. the costs in these programs are rising so rapidly over the next decades -- not 2014 or '15, but over the near future -- that you can't solve them with tax increases. we would not have an economy left to support anything if we tried that.
so you must understand the starting point for getting our fiscal house in order is reducing the growth in the entitlement spending just as suggested. then it's a political point, a debatable point as to whether or not you want to mix in tax increases as part of that solution. tsa a political -- that's a political decision at that point, understanding the tax increases we tend to enact tend to be those most harmful to the economy, therefore, slowing the economy as well as the tax base. but you have to start with the entitlement reform, slowing the growth of that spending. that is a mess and unavoidable component of -- that is a necessary and unavoidable component of getting our house in order. >> congressman, i actually wrote a book on this topic. >> congratulations. >> thank you. [laughter] and the bottom line is that social security you could rebalance relatively easily with new revenue -- >> what kind of impact would that have on the middle class, just using revenue, just using taxing people? >> the impact on the middle
class would be relatively small and, again, i can send you the numbers. the key issue is raising the cap on earnings subject to social security which is not indexed last time that was changed by this congress in the mid 1980s. the big problem is health care spending. it's health care spending. if you shift that, the responsibility of health care from medicare onto families, individuals and companies, you'll raise health care spending as a percent of gdp. that's the cbo scoring of that issue, and that's not going to help american families. you need to find a way to control, limit health care spending as a percent of gdp. that's the key variable to focus on, how the health care functions, how it delivers and what with it costs. >> if track increases were the only solution -- if tax increases were the only solution you're talking about here, you just related the tax increase to social security. medicare, medicaid, what's the impact there? what's the impact to just raising taxes on the broader economy? totally? >> the problem, congressman, is
the health care spending. >> i understand that. >> if health care spending increases, you can either pay that out of the budget, or you can shift that onto individuals in which case it ruins them either way. >> okay. >> so it doesn't make much difference. it's the health care costs you have to focus on. >> so i want to go to some of the discussion that was occurring earlier. why are we focusing on spending today, now? why now? and i may not have enough time to get to that question. i see the yellow light is on so, mr. chairman, i'll yield back before -- it's a long question. >> all right. okay. mr. larson, you're -- i'm sorry, mr. neil has come back in. mr. neil is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as we debate increasing the debt ceiling this afternoon, i think a bit of history's important as we acknowledge the current fiscal situation. in january 2001 cbo estimated that the total budget surplus for 202 to 2011 would be $26
trillion surplus. instead, after years of reckless spending and tax cuts, the federal government ran deficits from 2002 until 2011. the total deficit over that ten-year period amounted to $6.1 trillion. a swing of $11.7 rl from january -- trillion from january 201 and its projections. we began this path by enacting tax cuts that cost the government $3 trillion. the other major expenditure during those years that contributed mightily to these deficits is the engagement in two wars. by the time we got to january of 2009, the debt was $10.6 trillion setting a record for debt for any administration. pursuing two wars and massive tax cuts was the reason. and mr. johnson, while he was temporarily holding the chair for mr. camp, indicated that we
were all responsible for many of those positions. having voted against the war the in iraq and having voted against the bush tax cuts in 201 and 203, i think i've earned an element of credibility on these questions. so today we're debating another increase in the debt limit. i don't understand how anyone who voted for the iraq war could now vote against raising the debt ceiling. in reality arguing over the debt ceiling is, essentially, an argument over whether or not we should pay our bills. we should pay our bills. this debt is about the past, not about the future. the you voted for the war -- if you voted for the war in iraq and the bush tax cuts, the bill is here. remind our colleagues and friends, 1,700,000 new veterans. 45,000 of whom have served us honorably as the other
million-seven have, but they've been wawnded. half -- wounded. half of the 45,000 have claimed disability, so we hear from some of our friends -- the default deniers -- that they think hitting the debt ceiling is no big deal, that we could raise the debt ceiling only if we cut government spending as well. but where were they during those years? those very difficult or years? and incidentally, aye compile -- i've compiled the voting records on the debt increases that president bush requested during those years. and i hope, mr. chairman, i could insert them into the record. >> without objection. >> thank you. many senior members of this committee routinely voted to raise the debt ceiling during those years even though the money for the tax cuts and the wars was put on emergency basis for the purpose of hiding the costs. so i'm pleased that we're coming around to a more reasonable position today, and i hope that
we're going to find a common path forward on many of these issues. mr. johnson, you state in your testimony that low unemployment depresses tax revenue, and this is the mayor reason for -- major reason for our current deficits and why they're so large. once the economy recovers fully and the unemployment rate is lowered, it certainly will take some of the pressure off of these discussions. acknowledging there are long-term challenges we have to address. i've opinion making this point inside of my own -- i've been making this point inside of my own caucus not to overreact to the situation we find ourselves, and if we could find that point forward that i referenced, we'd find you could have a conversation that would be worthwhile past the political talking points. now, getting americas back to work should be the number one priority, and as we address this fiscal situation, toying with the debt considering that
american companies are estimated to be sitting on $1 trillion domestically and more than a $1,800,000,000,000 offshore, if we offered a picture of stability -- again, a conversation worth having -- we might be able to ameliorate some of the tension that surrounds this issue. would you comment, many johnson? >> you have eight seconds. [laughter] you can follow up with a letter, but we're going to stay on time here. >> we should pay our bills. that's the number one priority. if we don't pay our bills as a government, we will disrupt the economic recovery and push unemployment higher. >> thank you. >> thank you. mr. boustany, dr. boustany's recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral mullen, was quoted as saying that the debt of the united states is a threat to our national security. while it might not rise to that
level acutely, immediately, it certainly is serious strategic restraint on the ability of the united states to operate in an international environment, and it's clearly a threat to our economic prosperity. and i want to make it clear, nobody on this side of the aisle is talking about default. none of us are talking about default. we're talking about a serious solution going forward with a big problem which is widely acknowledged to be a spending problem. now, several of you made a number of points. mr. casey, you talked about congress having the power of the purse and using it wisely, with discretion to enact spending reforms which are desperately needed. mr. hoagland talked about going back to regular order, something we all believe needs to happen. you also mentioned temporary, extraordinary measures that are currently being used and talked a little bit about prioritization. and i want to bring that up
again in a moment. mr. foster, you spoke about process not being a substitute for real policy reforms. we all agree with that. i think both sides could agree with that. but the bottom line is this, we have a spending problem, and we have to also recognize that in the context of how it plays out in the economy. it's not just spending, but it's also a need for growth. this is why we want to do tax reform, real tax reform, fundamental tax reform that puts our tax code on a 21st century basis that promotes american competitiveness and growth. now, historically -- and i went back and read a crs report -- short-term debt limit increases have been used just by time in order to get to a point where you couple it with real spending reforms. this has happened historically. am i correct? >> yes. >> so we're not talking about
something out of the ordinary as we talk about this current proposal on the table. but i want to go back, mr. hoagland, to prioritization because we know there are extraordinary measures already being done by treasury. and prioritization would -- we wouldn't have to be in this crisis if the president had come forward with a real plan. he's had opportunities with four budgets and hasn't done that and has continued to perpetuate the problem. now, we're caught now in a situation where we're waiting with the budget and the timing, but the bottom line is this, we don't need to be in this -- we didn't need to be in this crisis, but we find ourselves in it. now, if prioritization is going to be used as one of these extraordinary measures, talk a little bit more, elaborate a little more on the fact that we have uneven receipts coming in and how this plays out. i want this to be real clear for the public that might be paying anticipation to this. paying attention to this.
>> the treasury has estimated that the cash flows in are very unprecise, even in a one-week fore or cast out, the estimate is that varies statistically plus or minus $18 billion. just one week count just estimating the receipts coming in. two weeks out the estimates are a $30 billion variation plus or minus. when you combine that with the requirements in terms of statute, the payments going out, you create a tremendous level of difficulty in terms of being able to set the time frame in which you should pay those when you don't know -- when you're doing prioritization paying with income coming in with a degree of variation that exists in the receipts coming in. it's just very, very difficult. >> and for the interest payments, there's a different computer system, right? than what's used for the other payments? >> correct. the interest payments is a separate computerrer system.
it is -- computer system. it is possible that you could just prioritize those interest payments. but i think the fitch report last week said that you could avoid an actual default -- default being defined as paying the interest -- but then those other noninterest obligations will be looked at as another form of default which would also affect fitch's rating. >> all right. how much time do you think we would have for prioritization, how much time could be pout? >> congressman, i mentioned in my report that we're talking about the pay fors, the prompt payment act, i think you've got a long time -- >> all right. time has -- >> thank you. >> mr. larson, you're recognized. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, and always good to see you back here and in good health. and let me start by saying i
thank our panelists for their testimony and thank you for your service to your institutions around the country. and thank the chairman for this hearing. i think it's a good news/bad news story. on one hand the good news is that we've avoided yet another immediate crisis, the bad news is that we're just kicking the can down the road for three months and in essence then are dealing with default in not paying on our bills just three months later. and so that creates an e nor -- enormous problem, and one i think that i would hope this committee above all others could solve. because i do believe in this committee and it bipartisan membership in our ability to address this issue. and we know that what we have to do is both stabilize this economy, invest in this economy, reform this economy and grow it in terms of what everyone is testified and what people on this committee believe in. no less than speaker gingrich
said on "face the nation" that, look, take the debt ceiling off the table. at least provide the american people with a modicum, a modicum of security that they know that we're not going to hold this hostage too. we ought to be adults about it as the former speaker said and take that off the table. that doesn't mean to desert the issue or back away from the issue of dealing with debt. and there are still appropriate opportunities, as he pointed out, whether through sequester or a continuing resolution to do it. but we owe it to the american people to make sure we take this uncertainty away from them. we saw what that uncertainty does in terms of impacting their pensions and their 401(k)s. and they look to this congress and, frankly, i think the congress looks to this body to return to regular order.
and i know we have the leadership on this body to do that. and by returning to regular order, we can get after the difficult things. mr. johnson pointed out that the issue is health care costs. that is true. mr. ryan, who serves on the budget committee and this committee, has pointed out the issue is health care costs. how do we go after those costs? it just simply isn't entitlements, aka insurance that people have paid. they have paid for that. that's their insurance. what are the actuarial assumptions around that? what do we have to do to change that? we ought to be able to carry that out in regular order, not in meetings in the white house, not in the meetings in the senate where they won't do a budget and where they'll wait toodle some kind of bills themself -- to do some kind of bills themselves. mr. john johnson, i was confronted in my hometown by my cfo who said, listen, we've got to go out to the bond market again in this very difficult
time, and what happens to us is we end up in a situation where we have to raise people's property taxes because congress twiddles and diddles and plays hostage politics. what is your experience with respect to the impact that this will have on local municipalities, our cities and our communities? >> well, congressman, the impact is going to be bad, and it could be dramatically bad depending on what happens in three months. i don't agree with mr. gingrich on many fiscal issues, but i think on this one he's right. take the debt ceiling off the table permanently. investors around the world are watching this hearing. they're looking at your words, they're trying to understand what does prioritization mean, how does this not involve default? the degree of uncertainty that is being multiplied by this conversation is extraordinary. the impact on municipalities is going to be tough. they will face higher borrowing costs to extent that risk premiums rise around the united states and the world, and that means either they've got to fire people, or they're going to
raise property taxes or face other problems. so this is a very bad route to go down. >> i have great respect for dr. boustany, but we are talking about default. whether we're talking about immediate default or default three months from now, that is a policy issue. mr. hoagland, you also talked about bringing balance to that issue. i thought that was an excellent point, and you said it ought to be done through regular order. how do you see that proceeding? >> i see that proceeding by the president submitting a budget. i see that proceeding by the budget committees passing budget resolutions. i see that by a conference agreement between the house and senate on a budget resolution. i see that by including a reconciliation instruction to achieve the savings over the time period. and i see that working through the -- >> i've been in congress 14 years, we have not completed that once since i have been here in full, complete order. that's why i think it's incumbent upon our committee, and i know the great integrity that our chairman and members of this committee have. i think that we can achieve those goals, and i know my time
is up. >> thank you, thank you very much. mr. pall soften's recognized -- paulson's recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for the witnesses being here. it's clear to me that there is broad, bipartisan consensus that our country is on an unsustainable fiscal path right now. the 2010 report, and, mr. hoagland, i believe you were a member of the task force, included a sobering warning that the federal budget is on a dangerous, unsustainable path. federal spending is projected to rise substantially faster than revenues, and the government will be forced to borrow ever-increasing amounts. federal debt will push interest rates up, endanger our prosperity and make us increasingly vulnerable to the dictates of our creditors including nations whose interests may differ from ours, and we talked about that earlier from some of the other questions. my constituents, quite honestly, are very perplexed that washington continues to borrow 40 some cents of every dollar it
spends. they can't get their arms around that. and there's a recognition now that without substantial changes to our fiscal policy, the national debt itself is going to become an existential threat. i'd like each of the panelists to comment on what are the consequences of increased levels, and what really is the turning point where our debt becomes unmanageable, where it becomes an unmanageable situation? mr. casey? >> well, i think, um, on the most of that question i will defer to the economists, but i will say that one thing i think we need to keep in mind is that we're not -- we flipping around the term "dell ceiling. -- debt ceiling." what we're talking about here is congress' power to borrow money and how we should be paying our bills based on that or some other med of -- method of raising revenue. so i think that's important to keep in mind. >> mr. hoagland, you were a
member of that task force as well. >> yes. and in fairness, congressman, that task force also recommended a balanced plan that included tax increases as well as spending cuts, more on the spending side than the reduction in the rate of growth. the occasions of the debt level that were headed at 77% growing into the future i think has jeopardized, quite frankly, our standing in the world. when we have about 40, 50% of in this debt owned by invest beers outside of the ideas -- investors outside of the united states, we're raising questions about the sovereignty of this country going forward. and in terms of where's the turning point, i think that's the problem most economists would say they can't answer that question. who knows when that last drop into the test tube turns the water blue. but it will turn at some point, and that's the problem. when it turns, it will turn fast. that's why i think you have to have a plan going forward to avoid that date coming. i don't know. there's a book out on this called "this time's
different/this time is not different." something will happen. we just want you to control that so this has some process behind it. >> now, knowing that the united states is still a safe haven in terms of of money flocking here, i mean, can we learn anything of what's happening in europe basically -- b. >> i think we are not greece, we're not italy, we're not spain. but i think when you look at the level of spending there relative to their assets, i think you end up with a situation where you do create social disorder and which is very dangerous. >> so there are three basic things. first is with all that debt, um, you're going to see in the future a lot more of government's resources, federal government's resources being used just to pay off the interest on the debt from the past. as i said in my testimony, americans expect services from the taxes they pay. they don't expect just that service the debt from priest services. -- previous services. the second is interest rates are going to rise. we've now increased the debt sufficiently that all previous
debates about whether deficits matter for interest rates can be set aside. it has not risen enough that it will matter, and it will matter a lot. interest rates will rise a lot faster and further than they ever would have otherwise. and, third, as my colleague was just saying, it's like a family or any business. if you take on far too much debt, you lose control of your own future. you lose control of your path forward. somebody else is going to be able to dictate the terms to you as to what you're going to do, and that dictator in this case will be the bondholders, the credit markets. we lose control of our future as a nation as these countries in europe. mr. hogueland knows, we are not spain or italy or greece, but we will have one thing in common if we keep this path, we will lose control of our future as they have lost control of theirs. can you comment if there's even a 1% or 2% increase in tax
anticipates what the -- >> well, if you think about a 1% payment and you've got $15 trillion, that's $150 billion. >> thank you. time's expired. mr. kind is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you for holding this hearing and thank the panelists or for your input and your discussion today which is important. and i think we all understand what the ultimate solution is to the debt ceiling. we need a long-term, bipartisan deficit reduction agreement in this place that's comprehensive that will get our fiscal house in order especially dealing with the demographics in the aging population. that's the answer. and i equate in this to the middle east peace plan. we all know where we need to end up, it's just finding the political process and the will to get there. every bipartisan commission that's met and been tasked to come up with a solution has reached the same conclusion. there's going to have to be some additional revenue and major spending reforms in the budget for this to make sense in a balanced and fair fashion. mr. foster, i appreciated your testimony here today where you said there's some additional
room on the revenue site even given where we ended up with the fiscal cliff, a little over 600 billion over ten years in new revenue, but that was short of where things stood during the previous conversations and that. but, mr. johnson, in your written testimony and also your oral testimony here today, i think you've been fairly clear that the greatest if not the chief contributor to the deficits in the fiscal shortfall today has been the underperforming economy. so i would assume then that one of the responses if not the response to help with the fiscal situation is to get the economy back fully functioning with good paying jobs and lowering the unemployment rate. is that right? >> absolutely, congressman. and it would be in that context disastrous if you were either not to extend the debt ceiling or create a lot of uncertainty about who's getting paid and how they're getting paid because of the debt ceiling or because of the sequester or because of some sort of government shutdown. all those things are bad for the recovery, they're bad for revenue, and they would tend to push up interest rates which has
the adverse consequences my colleague just described. >> right. so i really don't understand the argument for holding the debt ceiling hostage and jeopardizing the full faith and credit and possibly defaulting on our financial obligations for the first time in our nation's history given the safe haven -- in fact, the great irony in this recession is the fact that people have been willing to pay us to take their money which is, in effect, what's been going on. and it has been a lifesaver for us economically, and that all, i assume, would be in jeopardy overnight if we do default on our financial obligations. would you agree? >> absolutely. the most obvious risk we face is that we will through our own irresponsible -- deliberate irresponsibility undermine the safe haven status of the united states. the world is a complicated, dangerous place. people look to the united states as a safe place to keep their reserves, keep their money. but we could throw that out the window very, very quickly if irresponsible actions are taken around the debt ceiling. >> i want to also submit that,
you know, both sides, both political parties need top a little more realistic in this discussion. not to sound too partisan, but we've just come off two national campaigns where my colleagues accused democrats of taking $700 billion out of medicare and promising to restore that money while statement -- while statement promising to increase the defense program. that's a $2.7 trillion proposition of new spending that they were offering in two national campaigns. and now they want to sit back and criticize the president for not being realistic in his budget choices? i -- they lose me on that argument. but, mr. hoagland, you've hat a lot of experience especially -- you've had a lot of experience especially with dr. frisk, and we do understand the largest and faster growing is health care costs. there's a solution to getting an enhanced quality of care at a better price. we need to change the way we pay for health care so it is value
and outcome-based and no longer volume based which fee-for-service brings. would that help if we could make that conversion to a different payment system? >> yes. congressman, i don't want to scoop my bosses, senator frist, senator daschle, senator domenici and alice rivlin will be coming out with a report here at the middle of march where we are looking specifically at this question, and one of the areas where we're focusing, we have to move away from the fee-for-service payment system to a more orderly system and move it away. and we belief that in the long run will help control costs overall in the medicare area, but that also since 50% of health care is -- >> well, i knew you guys were involved in that work. the institute of med sun is doing a comparable report coming out in a couple of months. i also appreciated mr. brady's comment, he's going to be the new chair of the subcommittee. i think that's going to be key to the fiscal outlook as well. but there's a lot here we can
follow up on but, mr. chairman, thanks again for this hearing and the feedback today. thank you all. >> mr. reed is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i've been listening to this testimony all afternoon, and i just have to say i'm embarrassed to hear some of the comments that have been made today about what i believe to be the biggest threat to the future security of our country and the security of our country when it comes to our kids and our grandkids, and that is the debt. so i'm going to ask you point blank each and every member of this panel, is the present debt path sustainable? does anybody think that it is? >> no. >> mr. casey? >> no. >> mr. forcer? >> no, sir. >> mr. johnson? it's a yes or no question e. >> not over the long term, congressman. >> thank you. so it's not sustainable, and why is it not sustainable? can anyone briefly, each of you
briefly answer that question? mr. casey, starting with you. >> um, well i, frankly, as a layman there comes a point when they start cutting up your credit cards, and we'll reach it. >> mr. hoagland? >> and when the rate of growth in terms of payment on the interest of that debt is faster than the rate of growth of the economy, then you are -- a country is defaulting. >> mr. foster? >> that is the heart of it, sir. when your interest expenses are growing faster than your income, you're in trouble. >> mr. johnson? >> health care costs, mr. congressman. >> so that ooh's the cause -- that's the cause of the debt, but why it's not sustainable is eventually the interest on the debt becomes so large that you can't pay that payment, correct? >> right. >> okay. because i've done some calculations on that point, and i've looked at what is our -- if our present debt at $16 trillion just goes to 3%, what is the debt service payment on that for our interest costs? do you guys know that off the
top of your head? well, it's $492 billion. let's say it goes to 6%. anybody know what that is? >> twice. >> that's $985 billion. do you know what that means? what are we presently paying on our debt service payment. any of you know that number? >> about $250 billion, i believe. >> yeah. if you take the difference, it goes up to 6%. you've got $765 billion of additional need for cash payments to service the debt. what do we pay on a national defense budget in an annual year? >> about $780. >> so overnight, because that's an annual number, we are going to have to find the amount that we pay on our national defense in our federal budget, the e give let amount of dollars to service our debt. is my understanding correct? anyone disagree with that math? >> you're right, congressman. but if you have a bigging fight over the debt ceiling, that's going to push up interest rates and cause exactly the effect that you're worried about. >> so if we just put our head in the sand and say we're never
going to worry about the debt ceiling, at what point do our creditors say, you know what? we're going to charge you a little more interest and that interest goes up to 6% on the $16 trillion? don't we just get to the same problem on a long-term approach by not dealing with the underlying -- >> congressman, i'm totally in favor of dealing with the budget. that's the point of the book we wrote called "white house burning," a dramatic enough title, i hope. >> okay. >> but the point is you need a balanced approach as was said at the beginning. >> mr. johnson, if i could -- it's my time. and i've heard the balanced approach now for a year and a half, and i heard it today from the panel. there's been $600 billion of additional revenue that is a result of the fiscal cliff negotiations. balanced approach to me was if you gave revenue, you got spending reforms. has the president offered any spending reforms as of yet in regards to that $600 billion of additional revenue? has anyone heard them? >> we're hoping to see some in the budget, sir.
>> when he, when the president put -- when geithner put forth his proposal on november 29th, he had spending reductions of $400 billion. >> so $400 billion in relationship to $600 billion of new tax revenue, and the president offered $400 billion of spending cuts. >> in fairness, the president had proposed $1.6 trillion in revenues for $400 billion in spending cuts. >> yeah. doesn't sound too balanced to me, in my opinion. so i'll just end with this: it is clear that admiral mullen had it right. this debt, and i could care less about all the people here in washington d.c. i'm really concerned about the people back at home, my constituents, my kids, my grandkids. this isn't sustainable. and to have this bickering over these issues without putting a real, concrete proposal in front of the american people to say these are the visions of how we deal with this problem, that's
why i wholeheartedly support this three month extension, and i'm glad to hear the white house supports it, because at least now we'll put in black and white at least in the senate and in the house a vision to deal with this number one threat to our national security. thank you. with that, i yield back. >> thank you. mr. pascual's recognized for five minutes. >> yeah. three-quarters of the deficit reduction to date, to date has been spending cuts. and i would rather err on the side where roosevelt said in his second inaugural, and that was the test of our progress is not whether we administer to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. he said that in 1937 in the second inaugural. i'm more concerned about one-fifth of our children living in poverty, and i'm more concerned about the guys who are
working out there, male income compared to 1969 to the present. and what do we have? we have people making, males making a thousand dollars a more back in 1969. that's what i'm concerned about. we've had a redistribution of wealth all right in this country. it was all upward. it was all upward. let's get our facts straight here. this storied committee, mr. chairman, is even discussing the idea that america will not pay our bills, that we'll be a deadbeat nation, as the president said. and that is unbelievable to me. certain things unbelievable to you, that's unbelievable to me. because if you read article 14 and section 4 questioning whether or not to pay the public debt may be unconstitutional. from this body. it's not a long section. the public debt. it's right there.
and about the public debt, it also says, mr. foster, you didn't read the whole section. it says if the house doesn't -- if the congress doesn't do it, the executive must do it. it says that right in the bill, am i not correct? >> i'll leave that to the constitutional scholars. >> i'll read it to you. >> no, sir, it doesn't say that. but, please, read it. >> i will. if congress won't pay them, then the executive must. >> in section 4 of the 14th amendment? >> well, section 4 is the -- i'm talking about the interpretation of section 4 of article 14. >> okay. >> you disagree with that? >> i disagree -- >> so the executive has nothing to say about the debt? >> well, the executive has no power to raise the debt, certainly. he has an obligation to pay the public debt which is to say pay the amounts of money that have been loaned -- >> and how's he going to do that
if the congress does not give him the ability to do that? >> well --? >> that's a little problem, isn't it? >> it is obviously. >> okay, let me go on here. we're not going to default on our obligations. and not just to our bondholders. because another thing that we're talking about which is questionable is whether we can prioritize the payments and make everybody happy. i've heard that here. go ahead. >> i just want to be clear that i was not proposing prioritization. i was just pointing out the difficulties of prioritization. >> no. but you understand -- >> certainly do. >> -- it's questionable under the constitution. >> yes, sir. >> we all saw the economic impact that the last debt ceiling had on the economy. the dow dropped 2,000 points. we added 18.9 billion to our deficit just in that time. and for the first time in our history, we were downgraded for our credit rating.
that was all, and we didn't default either. the mere threat of default and irresponsible discussions of default is what i'm talking about right now. like the one we are having today. or were enough to do significant damage to our -- just the discussion of it. and we saw that. so let's give the american people some certainty. we said that for the last two years. you've heard that. when are we going to solve that problem, when are we going to solve this problem, how are people going to invest if they don't really know what's coming towards them. so let's end the talk of default, the irresponsible discussion. responsibly default, could you responsibly default? let's get an end to that discussion. let's pass a long-term increase in the debt ceiling so that the phrase "backed by the full faith
and credit of the united states of america" continues to mean something. and i believe it does mean something to all of you, and thank you for coming today. >> thank you. i would just note for the record that this discussion may not be as harmful as we think as dow and s&p 500 just hit a five-year high today. with that -- >> [inaudible] >> yes. i'm sure it will be. [laughter] with that, i would recognize mr. young for five minutes. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman. i thank all our panelists for being here today. it's clear based on all your testimony that really the big issue here, i think mr. hoagland put it most succinctly, the real issue is mandatory spending. and, um, you know, we're entering budget season, what ought to be budget season here many washington, d.c. here, and i'm just curious, first, dr. foster, i'll start with you. as the president submits his budget for fiscal year 2014, what do you anticipate the
likelihood is that his request will include any reforms of significance to make sustainable medicare and social security in that budget request? >> request well, sir, despite being an economists, i'm also an optimist, so i'm going to say i think he may take the opportunity and really choose to lead on this. and until he proves otherwise, that's what i'm going to believe. >> well, good. i share your hope. l um, i spent a couple of years on the budget committee before being on this committee and was hopeful then too. so i think that's the most important thing that, certainly, could be done. because it's important we act quickly. there's a cost to waiting here, and perhaps, mr. hoagland, you could discuss the importance, benefits of acting quickly here coming up with a clear, specific, comprehensible and comprehensive plan to make these largest unscene bl program --
unsustainable programs of government sustainable. >> congressman, i think it's necessary that a plan be put together that shows a path towards regaining sustainability in the medicare program long term in the social security program. the president back in november had proposed about $400 billion in spending reductions. i'm like dr. foster, i'm optimistic he will come forth with that. the proposal by the republican leadership was 60 o 0 billion. this is over a ten-year period. the only comment i have, mr. young, would be the issue of controlling health care costs in a telephone-year window -- in a ten-year window is difficult. what we really should be looking at is a much longer window because of some of the fundamental changes we have to make in the health care delivery system will take time to implement, such as mr. ryan's proposal last year. >> well, father enough. and i supported mr. ryan's proposal last year. i was encouraged that it
received some bipartisan support. i would hope in the future it might get a bit more. but, mr. hogue lambed, to continue with you -- hoagland, to continue with you, the road map, if you will, in order to arrive at a spot where we can get concrete ideas from democrat leadership, from the president of the united states about how to make these largest programs of government sustainable is through regular order. could you bring us through that regular order -- >> i'm a, i'm a regular order guy. i've spent my career here. i believe that the power of making legislative decisions lies with committees such as this very powerful committee here that i think it's better that the decisions in terms of what legislation could flow forward come out of the committees. therefore, that's why i believe a budget resolution that is put together that sets the broad parameters for how much you're trying to achieve in the way of deficit reduction work through the committees of jurisdiction the is most salient way of achieving a goal and expressing
to the american public we really are serious about a fiscal blueprint that puts us on a path of sustainability and low lowering that debt to gdp in the future. >> strikes me as a collaborative report, one that by design is set up to come together with some degree of consensus about what our nation's priorities are. and then give the markets a degree of certainty about what's going to happen in the future allowing us to create more jobs, etc. incidentally, this is exactly the approach that the house republican conference has taken with respect to the debt limit increase. we have tied increasing this debt limit con tin gent upon the senate producing a budget for the first time in years. strikes me as reasonable. happens to also be very popular among the american people. so i do agree that talk about default is irresponsible. to characterize this hearing as
about something other than an effort to bring us back into balance and to try and get a budget out of the united states senate and a clear budget out of the president of the united states, i think that's irresponsible to characterize it otherwise. and i would just say to mr. johnson, i'll give you a brief opportunity to respond, sir, that you spoke a great deal about policy uncertainty. but really it strikes me the greatest uncertainty longer term exists when you've got medicare, medicaid and social security unsustainable and no plan to make them sustainable. >> all right. mr. johnson will have to respond to that question e in writing as time as expired mr. davis is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, and i certainly want to thank the witnesses for coming. you know, it appears to me that as we continue to raise the specter of possible default that we undermine the confidence of our citizenry, and we certainly
do a disservice to our country. you know, if you're living every day with the idea on wondering are we going to be able to make it til next week or are we going to be able to make it for the next three months, i'm not sure that that's the most effective way of convincing our citizenry that we are a stable, viable government able to solve its problems, to meet its needs and bring resolution to whatever crisis there might be facing us. dr. johnson, let me ask you after the 2011 crisis we are the worst job creation month in 27 months. why? why did that occur? >> because of the additional
uncertainty created for everyone, including companies that make the hiring decisions, about what's going to happen next week or next month. this is a classic problem many countries have, but those are usually countries much poorer and less well organized than the united states. it is, it was in 2001 extraordinary and unbelievable to people that we would come so close to default, and it is extraordinary again today that you would put the debt ceiling on the table in these negotiations when the last thing you surely want to do is go into any of these complicated games about prioritization, nonpayments of this or that creditor or potential default. >> well, let me ask how, how does business interest, how does the company respond to these short-term, kick the can down the road when they've got to make decisions about their
company, people they must hire or products they must develop? how does the business community respond to that? >> they delay decisions. they wait. that's the finding, overwhelming finding, for example, by baker, bloom and davis, but also other people who have studied uncertainty, thefects of uncertainty. we don't know what's going to happen, therefore, we hesitate to make commitments. we're not going to buy that new equipment, we're not going to expand, we're not going to hire people. let's wait and see. and while uncertainty remains elevated as it is today, there will be hesitation in hiring and hesitation for the overall macroeconomic recovery. >> it's my position that one of the great needs that we have to get out of the economic crisis that we've been facing and creating and wondering about is to create jobs. i mean, it seems to me that if
more people were working, that that means more people would be paying taxes, they would be putting more money into the treasury, and if jobs are not being created, then i don't think we can just keep dallying around and dallying around and still there's no bottom line. how does this impact job creation and really provide the kind of assurance that people are going to be able to work and contribute significantly to further development of our economy? >> job creation is going to be impacted negatively by the uncertainty around fiscal policy, particularly any discussion of the debt ceiling, any of the debt ceiling rate of points that have come up, those are negative in terms of increasing uncertainty. those are going to cause more hesitation in hiring. those are going to slow
employment growth below what it would otherwise be, and those are not helpful to the economic recovery or, as you say, congressman, to the budget. >> so in essence, we're kind of kidding ourselves -- [laughter] about being able without creating jobs to solve economic problems, that just making decisions to shift thoughts and ideas and processes and at the end of the day there's still in more people working? >> you need an economic recovery, congressman, for everything else that you want to do, and that requires jobs to come back to where they were. we're still at least 3% below peak employment pre-financial crisis. this is the longest, worst recession in american history since the 1930s. >> thank you very much. thank you -- >> thank you. mr. griffin's recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you all for testifying today. i want to be really clear as well. i haven't heard any talk on side
of the aisle about default, wanting to default, using default as leverage. that's a straw man. the only people i've really heard a lot about default from are on the other side of the aisle. is i just want to make that -- so i just want to make that abundantly clear. it reminds me of what now majority leader reid said back in 2006. he's the one that was talking about default. of he said americans know that increasing debt is the last thing we should be doing. after all, i repeat, the baby boomers are about to retire. under these circumstances any credible economists would be telling you we should be reducing debt, not increasing it.
we're being asked to increase the debt to almost $9 trillion. so there's a lot of politics going on here, and what i'd like to do, most of the questions i had to ask have been asked, so i'd like to just go over a couple of things to clarify. we've heard a lot of talk about the bush tax cuts and the wars adding to our debt. and i was looking here at revenue as a percentage of gdp. and it's interesting that in the mid '90s when taxes were higher, 1995, for example, revenue as a percentage of g, the p was 18.4%. during the bush years in 2007 after the economy recovered from 9/11, it was 18.5%. so the idea that revenue dipped significantly during the bush years because of tax cuts is
just not true. sure, it went down after 9/11. i didn't see 9/11 labeled on this chart, mr. johnson, but i think that is a critical part of the equation. the other thing that i would point out, the key change -- and majority leader reid referred to it -- the key change has been demographics. we all agree we've spent too much in congress, a lot of it long before i got here. but the issue now is not who spent too much, the issue now is who's willing to fix the problem and who's not. that's ultimately the issue. and we've heard a lot about a balanced approach. and we just had a agreement here in the house, in the congress that raised taxes. now, from my calculations before
the taxes that were raised on the american people recently, a few weeks ago, we had a deficit of about a trillion dollars. after those tax increases, we've got a deficit of about a trillion dollars. does anyone disagree with that? mr. casey, do you agree that it had no significant impacten on our deficit? >> i agree. >> mr. hoagland? >> i agree that the deficit for fiscal year 2013 will still be about a trillion dollars. >> even after the tax increases? >> yes. but, of course, those tax increases phase in over a longer period of time. >> if you take 60 billion a year and subtract it from a little over a trillion, you're still right at a trillion. correct, mr. foster? >> that's the simple math, sir. >> mr. johnson? >> no, congressman. you're address -- look, the way that you discuss the budget and the way you argue about the budget is over a ten-year time frame. those were insufficient, i
agree, to completely address the budget issue. i supported larger, stronger strengthen of revenue. not immediately, though. phasing it in over time is the right way to do it. phasing it over 10, 15 years -- >> i'm running out of time. the bottom line is i understand you look at things over ten years, and we all know that in ten years there's no control over what's going to be spent and what's going to be coming in. but the bottom line is the tax increases we got with no cuts did nothing to impact the deficit of any significant. it's still about a trillion. you could say it's 910 billion. okay. still about a trillion. the bottom line is we still are about a trillion in the red every single year. and i will be waiting with optimism to see the president's budget. again, thank you all for coming today, and i yield back. >> all right, thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. hoagland, your 33-plus
years of dealing with budget issues in the senate, on the senate budget committee and in other areas, um, have you ever known in the history of our country of four successive years of trillion dollar deficits? >> no, sir. >> so it's an unprecedented position we're in in terms of the annual deficits. >> i never thought i would see trillion dollar deficits. >> and the debt, and i tend to use gross debt as a percentage of gdp. have you ever seen the gross debt as a percentage of gdp at the level we're seeing right now? >> only after world war ii, but then we owed it to ourselves, and we wrought it down rather substantially -- >> so since world war ii the level of debt to gdp -- >> has averaged about 40%. >> i was on the president's fiscal commission, and at that time it was about 90%. now it's over 100 if you look at gross debt. and we had a presentation there by doctors, it was by dr.s car
men reinhart and kenneth rogoff who indicated that a country's economic growth -- and i'm using their words -- would deteriorate markedly when its debt to gdp ratio was above 90. and, obviously, we're at that point now. >> correct. >> what impact do you believe that'll have on the economic growth and job creation in the u.s. in the future? >> i believe, again, that has a very negative impact upon the growth of this country going forward in terms of our credit rating around the world, in terms of our economic growth pattern will be negatively affected by that level of debt to gdp. while it's not a good example, all we have to do is look at what's happening in europe to see that's what the consequences. >> we recently got a fitch ratings report, and i'm quoting from their report that said in the absence of an agreed and credible medium-term deficit reduction plan that would be consistent with sustaining the
economic recovery and restoring confidence in the long-run sustainability of the u.s. public finances, the current negative outlook on the aaa rating is likely to be resolved with a downgrade later this year even if another debt ceiling crisis is averted, end quote. how do you think the football markets -- the financial markets in the broader economy would react if there was no credible commitment to addressing the current fiscal situation as we've just discussed? >> mr. chairman, i think that the debt limit bill does not control or limit the ability of the federal government to run deaf sets -- deficits or incur obligations. but i do believe it's a limit on our ability to pay obligations. so i think that while this is not the perfect solution, at least you do have the opportunity here by if you simply raised it without some form of a process which i hope would come about through going
back to regular orderly, i think that would be looked upon very favorably. but if you simply raised it with no process involved, i think that would be looked upon negatively by the market. >> right. dr. foster, any comment on that? >> i think that's exactly right. the markets are looking -- they understand, um, something of washington and how washington works. they understand there are only a few moments in a tbirch can year or two or four-year period in which we have a forcing moment, a time when congress must actually do something. and the critical value of the debt limit and the debate around the debt limit on one part is it's a simple enough issue that the american people can understand it. the budget is complicated. they don't understand the budget. they do understand debt. they have debt, they understand. they don't understand trillions, but the concept they get. so they understand that that's one value. the second value is that it's a forcing moment. anything that forces congress to act when the normal order of
budget process mr. hoagland talked about and i completely agree with him on the importance of regular order, but congress has a regularring habit of ignoring the regular order. this is a forcing moment, and it's a critical time to take action. >> and, mr. hoagland, again, with your experience on budget, we've had other short-term extensions of the debt limit in the history of this country, have we not? >> yes, we have. looking it up, i think it was at least my career seven or eight times. >> and we've also had extendses of the debt limit that have had policy reforms attached to them, have we not? >> my first experience was with the 1985 graham-rudman-hollings act over $2 trillion. >> so when the president and many democrats call for a so-called clean increase in the debt ceiling which they mean as no other reforms or other proposals attached to that or changes in spending behavior, um, how do you see the path
forward, um, and what should advocates of lower spending expect from the administration? be or ore budget reforms -- or other budget reforms that might be attached? i'd like you to comment on it and dr. foster. >> as i say, i don't think the debt limit bill per se controls spending. it controls -- it's a limit. but i do think that there are other tools, and they're not, they're not pretty. but you do have a sequester. i would certainly argue -- and this is just myself speaking, not bpc -- that you would look at the sequester as something that really does reduce spending. and i would also argue that one thing to do there would be to modify the she keyser so -- sequester so that it does affect more than the discretioning their portion of the budget and maybe with some trepidation also tax expenditures. >> all right. dr. foster? >> yes, sir. as i mentioned, the debt limit
is a forcing moment, and one of the things it can force is a shift in budget processes to get congress to take actions it might not otherwise take under the regular order as it then stands. graham-rudman-hollings being the great example. one of the things we should be looking for in this current debate is how to we tighten up, make more or rigorous the regular process regular order so congress takes it serious and puts forward the kind of resolutions and reconciliations that mr. hoagland was talking about. >> thank you. and, mr. casey, i just want to clarify this point before we adjourn. the constitution grants congress the sole authority over fiscal powers to tax, spend and borrow, is that correct? >> absolutely correct. >> and because the power resides in congress, the debt limit is not actually a himation on the executive's -- limitation on the executive's power to borrow, is that correct? it is, b it is the statute that contains the debt ceiling is actually a grant of authority to the president. >> um, it certainly can be read
that way. i mean, it is a limit on the amount that congress is permitting the executive of to borrow -- >> but it's an authority he would not otherwise have. >> absolutely. without it he cannot borrow a nickel. >> so when that authority runs out, it's actually the constitution of the united states that is preventing the president from attempting to boar -- borrow on the credit of the united states. >> yes. >> thank you. i want to thank all our members for participating in this meeting today, and with that, this hearing is is now adjourned. [inaudible conversations] >> personal finance starts, as we know, in the 1930s with
sylvia porter, and it's really a spin-off out of the self-help movements of the 1930s. the 1930s are known for everything from, you know, the hard economic times of the 1930s. you see everything from alcoholics anonymous develop in the 1930s to napoleon health thinking they can get rich to various social activist movements, fascism and communism. and there's this whole fulcrum going on out there. and sylvia porter develops personal finance out of this over a period of years, and her goal is to educate people so that the great depression will never happen again. but it's very much in a way of its time, an idea that we can teach people certain skills, and if they learn these skills, we'll all be okay. >> the dark side to have personal finance industry is helaine olin on c-span2. and look for more week tv on -- book tv online. like us on facebook. >> several live events to tell you about today on our companion
network, c-span. the new america foundation and the washington monthly host a discussion of race and president obama's second term at 10 a.m. eastern. later, republican national committee chairman reince priebus speaks at the rnc's winter meeting. that's at 1 p.m. and at 5 p.m. eastern we'll be live from the national review conservative summit with remarks by arkansas congressman tom cotton and columnist charles krauthammer as well as a panel focusing on pro--life issues -- pro-life issues. now, a house democratic task force meeting on reducing gun violence. on wednesday members heard about improving background checks for gun buyers and providing mental health counseling to students. the task force recommendations are expected next month. this is two hours. >> we're going to go ahead and get started. first, let me apologize.
we had a vote series which delayed us a bit, but thank you for hanging, hanging with us on this. many thanks to the witnesses who are here today. we've got a great lineup of individuals who are going to be able to share some information with us that i believe is critical for our deliberation and for our effort to figure out what we can do to minimize gun violence. i also want to take a point of personal privilege and recognize the president pro e them of of the california state senate, daryl steinberg. thank you for being here. and thanks to all of the task force members that are here and the vice chairs who have taken a lot of their time to make sure we have a good end product in all this. it's very, very much appreciated. i just want to let everybody know from the beginning that i'm a hunter, i'm a gun owner, and i believe that law-abiding
citizens have a second amendment right to own firearms. i'm not interested in giving up my firearms, my gun, and i'm not going to ask other law-abiding americans to give up theirs. and not only is the this something that i believe in personally, after the supreme court ruled in the heller decision, this is off the table. the court ruled that law-abiding citizens have a right to own firearms. so i don't want that discussion irrespective of what side of the issue you're on, should not get in the way of the work that we're doing. but as a father and a grandfather, i also believe that we have a responsibility to make our schools, our streets and our communities safe places. and i know, i know this from the bottom of my heart, i know that we can do both of these. and i know that we're going to. as chair of this gun violence prevention task force, i'm
working with my colleagues -- many of whom are here today -- to develop a comprehensive set of policy proposals that will both reduce gun violence and respect the second amendment. i've met with virtually everyone imaginable; democrats, republicans, gun right groups, gun safety groups, mental health experts, education leaders, law enforcement, folks from the movie entry and video game industry, hunting and sportsmen groups, the vice president and his task force. and one thing's clear, it's a very complex issue. and in order to make any meaningful progress, it's going to take a complex and very comprehensive solution. every idea needs to be on the table, and i believe that everyone needs to be at the table. and at the table today we have law enforcement officials, hunters, sportsmen, health leaders. and this is going to be, i think, a very meaningful step in
our effort. so thank you all for coming to offer your invaluable input on this, in this discussion. and remember, as we move forward it's not a choice between either protecting the second amendment or reducing gun violence. it's about the willingnesses of a responsible majority to do both. and working together, i know that we'll be able to do that. i'd like to recognize, um, some folks who are here also with us today who were present at tucson on the day that gabby gifford was wounded, our friend and our colleague, at her congress on your corner. nancy bowman, is nancy here? thank you. patricia mish. pam and bruce simon. thank you very much or for being here. now i'm going the call on some of my colleagues to introduce the witnesses who are here
today, and we'll start with the dean of the house of representatives, a good friend and member of the task force, congressman john dingell. >> mr. chairman, i thank you for your courtesy. i commend you for your hard and diligent labors on behalf of this matter. and i now have the pleasure to introduce mr. guest barricone. mr. gaspar is a native of steamboat springs, colorado. by the way, i'm a native of colorado. i was born in colorado springs -- >> yea, colorado. >> and it's a wonderful place. and is a lifelong hunter and angler. his roots in ranching and outfitting developed him to obtain a strong respect for outdoor heritage. in 2007 he founded the outdoor heritage consulting, a group dedicated to advancing sportsmen's interest throughout
california. from 2008 and 2010, he served as western slope director for our colleague, senator mark udall, in focusing on national and natural resource policy. he is currently the director of bull moose sportsmen's alliance, dedicated to the heritage, traditions and opportunity of sportsmen and sportswomen. he also serves as sportsmen outfitter representative of the colorado parks and wildlife commission as well as sportsmen's representative to the great outdoors colorado board. mr. perricone, we thank you for your courtesy and kindness in appearing before the task force today, and i look forward to hearing your testimony. >> and what i'm going to do is ask that all the witnesses be introduced, and then we'll begin with the testimony. >> next, um, congresswoman debbie wasserman-schultz will introduce james cummings.
>> thank you, congressman thompson, for convening this important, this important and critical public hearing on a topic that is essential for us to come together on. you know our nation suffered a heart rending tragedy last month as 26 incident victims including 20 children lost their lives to senseless gun violence. as horrific as the newtown tragedy is, it is only symptomatic of a larger gun violence problem where over 10,000 american lives are lost each year. while there's no one action we can take, i think i speak for certainly my constituents and probably most americans in saying we simply must find common sense ways to move forward on sensible measures that can curb it. as president obama said in his inaugural address on monday, our journey is not complete until all the children know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm. one american that is joining us today in this journey is jim cummings who is a self-described
sportsman, hunter, gun owner and nra member. i have known jim for 20 years, more than 20 years actually. he's a highly successful commercial contractor, retiring a few years ago from the company he founded. he literally built many of the schools and universities that educate the children of south florida today. beyond that through his community involvement and service, jim has been simply been a pillar of our community. he has become an influential voice in broward county and has been involved in civic, governmental and charitable organizations. his construction company, for example, has built community centers at no cost from the broward center for the homeless to several boys and girls' clubs just to name a few. it's no surprise then that jim has received a number of recognitions for his long history of community service. jim is also a gun owner of over 150 guns, an avid hunter who has hunted all over the world and a lifetime member of the nra.
he and i have not always agreed on gun control issues of the day, and on a number of other issues as well. but i have a deep respect for his points of view and for his commitment to making the world a better place. after newtown jim sent me an incredibly thoughtful e-mail sharing his perspective on the track and the steps -- tragedy and the steps he felt should be taken. ..
into some good, sounding slogans that would be counterproductive to our efforts. we were told by seven witnesses from diverse fields how and why comprehensive evidence-based prevention and early intervention strategy provided in a collaborative manner with law enforcement and other entities working with at risk children and youth, basically a public health approach, will not only reduce violence and crime but also save much more money and avoid criminal justice and social welfare expenditure and such strategies will cause but it will be this approach which several other speakers commended as a legislative strategy. with that background is my pleasure to introduce one of our speakers today, dr. robert ross. dr. ross is a pediatrician who also has extensive background in public health. received an undergraduate and masters and public administration and medical
degree from university of pennsylvania. since 2000 has been president and chief executive officer of the california endowment, the 15th largest foundation in the country. during his tenure, the foundation launched an tenure, 1 billion-dollar effort to help communities across california take action to make where they live healthier right improving neighborhood safety, education, housing, environmental conditions, access to healthy foods, and more. his vision -- all children are maximized. he understands that exposure to violence is one of the top areas to welding and success. he is the author of a number of articles regarding the need to protect children, including the december 2012 peace and the "huffington post" entitled the real cliff in the u.s., what america needs to focus on childhood, the long-term prosperity. at a time when researching for answers for the fiscal -- mass murders as well as for the numerous firearm deaths and
injuries that occur everyday in our homes and on our streets, we cannot have a more informed, accomplished and dedicate spokesman regarding our efforts to address these concerns than hearing from a public health perspective, hearing from a pediatrician, philanthropist, professor and author, dr. robert ross. >> next, congressman ron barber who was wounded in tucson will introduce jeannie campbell. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for acknowledging my friends from tucson. i did just like to add a word or two if i might, and that is to say a little bit about them. pam simon and i were both staff members with congresswoman giffords when she was shot alongside the congresswoman, myself that day and it's obvious a survivor and a great advocate for change. down the line from her is nancy
bowman, the nurse who happened to be there that day, came to are a bit edgy not done so, and her husband as well, others i think would have died. lastly, the woman who i believe stop the initial wounds and injuries and murdered, and that's -- i call her a hero. she said so-called hero. she's a woman of action because she grabbed that extended magazine and prevented the shooter from reloading. otherwise many more people would have died that day. i was a strong supporter of the second amendment. i believe as the chairman said we should not be about trying to take away guns at all from responsible gun owners, but we have to do something after what happened in tucson and all the other mass tragedies including of course the terrible tragedy in newtown. we have to do something. we have no right to be here unless we do something. i'm confident, try to undo your leadership we have not only seen but will continue to hear from so many diverse voices that inform the work we have to do
here. we have heard from people who are in favor of change and people who are opposed to change, and all in between. so i appreciate the opportunity to hear from our panel this afternoon. as a survivor of the mass shooting in tucson, i'm absolutely committed to doing something about what has happened in a country over the last two years. as a vice chairman of this task force on unwavering in my commitment to keep pressing for legislation. all of us i think know that the shootings that we've seen in at least the last two years have a nexis of two unfortunate issues or problems. one is, people with serious mental illness, either undiagnosed or untreated, secondly the availability to them of weapons that can kill and wound many people in a very short period of time but in tucson shooting, 33 bullets were discharged in less than 20 seconds, and 19 people went down, six of whom died.
we have to work on a lot of issues, but i'm proud today to introduce a witness to talk abut one issue that i think is critical, investments health service. we must expand mental health awareness. i've introduced a bill last week, called -- legislation that will help train, educate teachers, administrators, students and first responders and how to identify and respond to signs of mental illness. i am very pleased to introduce jeannie campbell, chief operating officer of the national council for behavioral health. the national council for behavioral health is the nations leading mental health and addiction organization. under ms. campbell leadership of the national council has helped to secure the passage of the federal mental health law, and expanded financing for integrated behavioral health and
primary care services. ms. campbell helped introduce the mental health first aid in the united states, and to date has led the national council in training nearly 100,000 citizens in the program. in my district alone 1400 people have been trained and the program is a huge success. a 22 year -- a 22 year veteran of the u.s. navy, she leads initiatives to improve community-based mental health and addiction treatment services for veterans and pioneered the -- serving our veterans be able to pick a program to train civilian health care providers to that occur are veterans in the committee. thank you for your service, ms. campbell, and for being with us this afternoon. i look forward to your testimony. >> thank you. next, congressman rush holt will introduce david chipman. >> thank you, chairman for convening the hearing and for inviting thicknesse the witness.
each year hundreds of thousands are shot by guns. we need to questions but not all the deaths are murdered to only a relative few are mass murderers. summer accidents, some are suicides. there are many personal family and societal tragedies contained in those numbers. and within the rights of gun ownership and use, we must ask the hard questions. to find a way to reduce the number of tragedies. someone who can help us get to the details of this is special agent, former special agent david chipman, 25 year veteran of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives. and deep experience in the fie field. served in a supervisory role in atf in detroit, launched one of the first project safe neighborhoods to focus on preventing gun violence. mr. chipman led the atf national
firearms program division here in washington where he developed atf violent crime impact team. to prevent homicides with guns in targeted your cities. mr. chipman was on with the attorney general's award for outstanding contribution to community partnerships for public safety. for his efforts in that come in those programs. special agent chipman has seen it all when it comes to violent crime, from the murrah federal building bombing to gun related crimes in cities and communities in which he is work. i've looked at his prepared testimony, and let me say simply, if we want to reduce gun violence, we should pay real attention to his recommendation. he has recommendations on high-capacity magazines, on criminal background checks, on responsible dealers, on straw purchasers, on the leadership of the atf.
he knows what he's talking about and i'm delighted to present to you mr. david chipman. >> thank you. arveson george miller will introduce marc leforestier. [inaudible] >> welcome to the committee today. after working in private practice to a -- [inaudible] including negotiation of combat. all levels of state and federal force. in 2007 he became direct of the california attorney general's office of legislative affairs. is responsibilities for california state legislature. last year he helped lead the passage.
mr. leforestier and his staff are currently working in the california department of justice bureau of fire arms which is responsible for enforcing california's firearm laws and the california legislature which is considering reform legislation to reduce firearm violence. he has twice received the award of excellence and in 2005 served as the fellow national associate attorney general supreme court project in washington, d.c. is a graduate of university of toronto. we welcome you to the committee. we look forward to your testimony, and you start with a wonderful statement which is california's firearm background check system is comprehensive. thank you for that. >> well, thank you again, witnesses, for being here. we'll start gaspar perricone with you. you are recognized for your opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman, also would like to take a quick
moment and congressman dingell for the kind introduction. i think it's probably worth noting that wildlife programs ruggedized the 75th anniversary this year and i think we can all commend you and your leadership of the sportsman in the conversation community the passage of the restoration act is truly something to be proud of. i think we would all be well served of more individuals like you leaving our charge. my name is gaspar perricone and i'm the cofounder of the bull moose sportsmen's alliance. a legacy set forth by the founding father of the sportsman conversation, theodore roosevelt. president roosevelt uniquely understood that our passion for the rod and gun needed to be equally matched by passion for conservation. we're comprised of hunters, anglers and trappers and we are dedicated to promote our heritage, tradition and sporting opportunities in america's fields and streams. by advocating for policies important for sportsmen and women who worked which are the opportunities that we enjoy
today will be cherished by our children and their children as well. i am here today as the president of bull moose sportsmen's alliance to representative of the sportsman can anybody think more more prominently as a concerned american citizen. the senseless tragedies require america's sportsmen to step up and participate in the national dialogue that is taking place around us. i'm also not for the pain that now is the time for of america's sportsmen to lose our voice. we encourage them to join international discussion and help identify policies that will help keep our children safe while ensuring that the sporting heritage and the second amendment writes that we shall continue into the future. i, for one, believe that both can be achieved. when it comes to protecting our children there's no greater matter the national security. was a violent offense that we witnessed over the last couple of months simply cannot be -- certain freedoms can we can also battle the second amendment
solely accountable to any and all ideas designed to prevent mass shooting should be reviewed and sportsmen must be involved in this discussion. we provide well reasoned input based on a history of responsible gun ownership and ethical conduct in the field. coming from a broad spectrum of background, provide a bridge among the very fragmented society as a nation searches for policy solutions. in the wake of pass kin kind of tragedies can sportsmen have felt stigmatized by non-hunters as being enablers of gun violence. as a result we frankly have withdrawn from that debate. we understand taking a conservative review of our second amendment writes. sportsman also take a lot of pride in the fact that they know how to handle firearms and we are especially -- examples of misuse of firearms occur. the same time we're parents and grandparents and sons and daughters, and i think we all should in the belief that tragedies like newtown and auroraa